A little while ago Microsoft leaked out a snippet of information about a project they were working on. It appeared on Socl.com and was called ‘Tulalip’. Apparently Tulalip is a website where you “Find what you need and Share what you know.” However now a bit more information has surfaced and you can get a sneak peek into the budding project that will be hopefully be available to the public sometime in the near future.
Socl as it is now referred to, Tulalip was dropped, is a site that takes social networking, searching for information, and discovery and blending it all into one complex mixture. It was previously being tested with a select group of users and it has a myriad of different features which you can find out about below.
At first glance you see Socl and think “great another Facebook wannabe”. Admittedly this has yet to be disproven so we can only hope for more information later in the future when Microsoft releases it to a more public testing group – if they go forward with the project that is.
So, as you can see it looks a bit like Facebook; it has the three column design with your general navigation links on the left, information and updates in the middle, and social options (i.e video and invites) on the right. What’s different about Socl is the fact that there is an input area at the top with a question “What are you searching for?” When you type something into that input field it will update your ‘status’ however you can switch this to the standard update and instead of asking a question state something about what you are doing.
Most people think of tagging friends as seen in Facebook; however Socl is doing something different. Here you have the option to tag a particular subject from someone’s status or search query and then you can subsequently search things with that tag. It’s unknown how they will make this more desirable than searching through your own RSS feeds or simply Googling something yourself, however this Socl is still in the testing phase so we may hear more later about this development.
With the advanced HTML5 integrated into the site, as opposed to Flash or others, Socl runs smoothly even when utilizing the video party feature offered on the right. This allows users to watch YouTube videos together and comment via the chat box.
Google has been attempting to create searching for information more of a ‘social experience’. This is because they believe that your friends and others you know can provide you with unique information that you couldn’t find when simply sifting through the search results. It is obvious that Socl is a huge push towards this direction and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
Due to the fact that Socl is still in the testing phase it is difficult to truly judge it however many will agree that it needs to bring more to the plate than simply a social searching experience for users. Facebook has outlasted many opponents and Socl will have a hard time competing with its current features.